Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Life Cycle of Monarch Butterflies

Our 2nd Grade just completed their unit on the life cycles of bugs! I try to include as much classroom curriculum in art class as I can to create link between what our students learn in class to what we do in art. This week, we focused on the life cycles of Monarch butterflies. Working together, we drew out butterfly, caterpillar, flower and chrysalis together. Then our amazing 2nd graders filled in their drawings with oil pastel. The results are amazing!

 
 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

1st Grade Mesopotamian Pottery

Our first graders are currently studying Ancient Mesopotamian Civilizations so our art class together was devoted to Mesopotamian pottery, specifically, the pinch pot. I try and get as many different types of materials in the hands of each grade as possible over the course of the year. It was exciting to see them handle the self drying clay during their class and there was enough clay for each student to make two pots!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ancient Roman Mosaics

Our 3rd Grade just wrapped up their unit on Ancient Rome (complete with Roman Gladiator Games)! In art class we discussed the history of Ancient Roman art with a specific focus on the art of Roman mosaics. Our 3rd grade then created their own Roman mosaic cheetah!



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What is a Line?

 
 In kindergarten we are teaching our students about the fundamentals of design. We started with the question,"What is a line?" We photographed each student in profile and then printed, cut out, and glued each profile on a large piece of multi-media paper. Next, we discussed how lines can be dotted, curvy, straight etc...then we gave them some markers. Their goal was to draw as many different  kinds of lines as possible and each had to be in a different color.
 
  
Our next project was to apply what they learned about lines to an art project that would get them to stretch a bit. Over two weeks, we taught them about the Japanese artist Hokusai, and we recreated his famous "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" while highlighting the use of lines in our work. We were blown away by the results!


Monday, September 21, 2015


     Our 6th grade are totally immersed in their Greek Mythology unit, so this week in art we made Ancient Greek Amphorae out of paper mache and paint. This project took three weeks to complete and it was an absolutely wonderful mess.

Most of what we know about Ancient Greek art comes from sculpture and pottery fragments. Before our project we discussed how pottery is made and even watched the opening scene of the animated movie Hercules which takes place on an amphora. Here are a few pictures of a couple of pieces....




 I think they turned out fantastic!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Eighth Grade and the Lascaux Caves

     Our school year is off to a grand beginning and we started with cave painting in the manner of the caves of Lascaux, France. In 1940, the Lascaux Cave was discovered by four young people near Dordogne, France. In 1948, the cave was opened to the public but by 1955, carbon dioxide, bacteria,  heat, and humidity brought in by visitors was already damaging the delicate Paleolithic paintings. The cave contains nearly two-thousand figures which are roughly grouped into three categories: animals, people, and abstract signs.

      This year in 8th Grade, I'm taking our students through the arc of art history from 30,00 BCE to 2016 A.D. We have a lot ahead of us! Mr. Haight came in and gave me a hand to build a "cave" in our art room (tarps and tables turned on the side covered with brown butcher paper). I gave our students one instruction: they couldn't speak any known modern language. The class chose a tribe leader who gave them "fire" (electric candles) to draw by.


 

     Our students produced some fantastic line drawings and had some fun too!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How Is Van Gogh In My Art Room?

Like all teachers, I use various methods to get my student's attention throughout the day. Sometimes I say, "Class, class, class!" to which they reply, "Yes! Yes! Yes!". Most of the time though, I say, "Van!" then they say, "Gogh!" Ideally, at this point, their brushes should be down and their eyes on me then I can continue with instructions.

Why Van Gogh? 

Well, the tile of this blog was inspired by a recent visit to the Portland Art Museum. As I was walking around the modern wing it occurred to me that we probably have a Van Gogh in our school--or maybe someone who will cure cancer; a Maya Lin, or Mozart could be sitting in our midst. Regardless, each child who comes into my classroom will contribute something wonderful and amazing to our global society because greatness is found in every human being. Even you, (reading this blog) have something significant and important to contribute to your community and the world. 

What will it be?